How the hell do you afford to travel so damn much?!

If you want to travel more, make travelling your priority!

Social media shows a distorted reflection of real life:

….all you see is free time but you never see people posting about their work (some complaints about studying maybe 😉 …). There are studies showing how unhappy social media makes you from this adverse perception of other people’s lives btw.

 

Personally, what I didn’t post is:

  • that I always worked during semester holidays for my internships or student jobs
  • that I took on 3 jobs during my 1st semester of the Master This was a mess! Working full-time and full-time studies did not work for me. The good thing about having zero leisure time is that you do not have time to spend your money either. 😀 So, I just kept the freelance work, i.e. keep the best paid jobs with the most flexible timing. Connect with me on Linkedinfor more info on my jobs 😉

 

This all falls under the aspect of “Gain more“. This is only half of the story:

 

Gain more – spend less

 

Spend less

Pre travelling:

  1. Track your spending, e.g. with Excel spreadsheets, apps or your bank’s budgeting tool
  2. Take less money with you; feeling broke makes you spend less
  3. save on your monthly rent (especially in your younger years this is probably your biggest expense)
  4. avoid subscriptions (phone, fitness, music, newspaper etc. adds up considerably and most of them you cannot quit right away)
  5. avoid foreign exchange rate charges by changing money with your bank or get a credit card with low fees, e.g. comdirect
  6. do not pay for your bank account and bank cards, there are so many free offers
  7. check and change your insurances every year before November. Sometimes you do not even need to change, just tell them you intend to because you have found this cheaper offer, and your agent will probably make you the same offer
  8. do not subscribe to a phone contract that you cannot afford (40€/month compared to a 10€ SIM card a month makes savings of 360€ a year)
  9. avoid overpriced sweets and drinks (Starbucks). Drinking water is not only healthier and keeps you in shape, but it also saves you tons of money. A coffee at Starbucks is roughly 10 times more expensive than when you cook one yourself.
  10. Put money aside: save all your change or all coins or a fixed amount a month
  11. Go on a shopping diet for one season: I did that in France to save for the USA. But I still went to (online) shops to see what I liked. Not only did this shape my style, it also helped me evaluate if I really missed anything.
  12. Go shopping less often: for me this came automatically after the shopping diet. Shopping, especially on Saturdays takes so much time and it is pure stress with all the people in your way and the noise.
  13. Buy what you need not what you want: a shopping diet is the best way to figure out what you actually need. Write a list of which items you are missing
  14. Buy just what you like 100% and that makes you feel fabulous: when in doubt take your best gay friend and watch his reaction when you come out of the changing room 😉
  15. Meal planning and cooking vs. eating out: a rice prepared by yourself costs 0.5€ compared to 7€ at the Iranian place in the city center of Luxembourg. Pasta costs 1€ compared to 12€ in a restaurant. A sandwich costs 1€ compared to 4.5€. A salad 0.5 – 2€ compared to 8-12€… Should I go on? 😉 Use the saved amounts to spoil yourself with something great once in a while. ;-)The only exception for this is if you live in China or Thailand and eating out is actually cheaper and more convenient.
  16. Free your stuff. Go through all your belongings and ask yourself: “For how long haven’t I used this? Do I really need this”. Then sort it into: Keep, sell or give away. In doubt, ask your best friend to look through your “Keep” items. My best friend has a lot of fun criticizing what I’d like to keep. 😛 Helps a lot to get rid of what you don’t need. Then try to sell your stuff once; the leftovers and the “give away” stuff goes to charity.
  17. Bring less stuff. Cheaper to travel with less luggage and you have more space to bring something back for your loved ones.
  18. Drink less Alcohol. How easily do you spend a fortune on a night out? Drink more before at your friend’s place or drink less in general. 😉

 

While planning your trip:

  1. Find cheap offers (urlaubspiraten.de, holidaypirates.com, urlausbguru.de)
  2. travel during low season (Jan-May, Oct- Mid Dec excluding school holidays and public holidays)
  3. find the best prices, e.g. on kayak.com for fixed dates and destinations, compare flights and multi-stop flights; skyscanner.com if you’re very flexible regarding time and destination
  4. do not hesitate to book when your dates are fixed
  5. be spontaneous and do not hesitate when finding last-minute offers
  6. compare a package holiday with buying flights and accommodation separately (depending on your preferences)

 

During your trip:

take your friends with you: it’s not only more fun, but you can also share expenses.

Accommodation:

  1. Take your friends (best to take the max possible per room and car)
  2. Check your preferences for price, luxury and location
  3. Compare prices and other characteristics of hostels and regular hotel rooms (wifi, parking, location, breakfast,…). There is no rule which accommodation is better per se.

 

Transportation

  1. Use public transport. Busses, long-distance busses, trains, trams,..
  2. Use Uber instead of taxis
  3. Ask strangers at the airport to share a taxi; we met Cili from Chile this way and spent even more time with her afterwards exploring Ho Chi Minh City
  4. Use or even better offer ride shares, with the later option you might even earn money regarding low gas prices at the moment. BTW this way I had free trips to Switzerland and Amsterdam using blablacar.com)
  5. Rent a car: reserve online or negotiate well to get good prices. Optimal: fill up all the seats.
  6. Rent a scooter/motor bike: always fun and a bit crazy if you’re alone or “just the two of us”

What’s your excuse for not travelling now? 😛

 

 

Where the hell is Michelle…?!

Where the hell is Michelle?

Short answer: Luxembourg.

Why #wherethehellismichelle?

My #1 FAQ (#2 being when do you come back, #3 when do i see you again) makes me realize what great friends I have. 😍😘
Fellow travellers also ask the where question: “where are you from?” to start random smalltalk.
Hence, the hashtag.

Long answer:

Started writing this in a plane flying from Shanghai to Guilin. Finishing it in Luxembourg. Jaja, procrastination 🙈

I spend more time on the road than in my hometown. Therefore I often take the wrong way in one way streets although I’m in a car with a local license plate… 🙈😂
Unfortunately I don’t spend enough time with old friends and family but I’m working on it. 😉💪

“Can you imagine living abroad?”, asked my german teacher just before graduation.
“Maybe”, that’s what most of us said, including me.

Turns out since graduating highschool I’ve always lived abroad. 5 countries in 5 years: Germany – Luxembourg – France – USA – China.

Apart from that my travel addiction started in the US. My well-travelled friends there inspired me and in the end we went on roadtrips almost every weekend.

Now, 2 years later it’s all about travelling. All the money I’m saving, the job I’m choosing, day offs, exam planning,… – it just comes down to how this will allow me to travel.

And suddenly I went to more Countries in 2015 than in my whole life before. The new one’s were: UAE, Viet Nam, San Marino, Oman, Tanzania, Israel, Ethiopia, China with Hong Kong and Macao.

Get ready for some reviews, and how I have the time and money for all this… 😝✌🏿️